A new bill named after a terminally ill California patient will allow for patients to access medical cannabis from their state-approved dispensary or caregiver. This law is the first of its kind, and it has been met with mixed reactions from both supporters and opponents.
The ryan law apple daily is a new law that will increase the access to cannabis for terminally ill patients in California.
Cannabis may make a world of difference for terminally sick patients in their last days, but they’ve historically encountered obstacles when trying to utilize the plant medication in medical settings. On Tuesday, Sept. 28, that changed for California patients when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Ryan’s Law, which requires hospitals in the state to provide terminally ill patients with access to medicinal cannabis for treatment and pain relief.
Every year, the number of scientific research proving cannabis’ medicinal advantages increases. However, regardless of the therapy that cannabis may offer for patients—particularly those in hospice—the majority of U.S. hospitals still ban the consumption of cannabis on-site. The Government Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, which requires federal grantees to ensure a drug-free workplace in order to receive federal money, is the reason behind this.
The current tension between cannabis research and legislation raises the issue of whether cannabis should be handled in the same way as other medications. Patients should not be allowed to smoke cannabis in the presence of those who may have damaged lungs, but should they also be prohibited from ingesting cannabis-infused sweets, capsules, or topicals while in the hospital? When Sen. Ben Hueso, D-Calif., initially introduced Ryan’s Law, he wanted to address that question.
The Fire That Started It All
Ryan Bartell, a California resident, was only 41 years old when he learned that his body was fighting stage IV pancreatic cancer. Ryan Bartell’s diagnosis was nothing short of heartbreaking for him and his family, as a parent, all-state runner, and former Coast Guard man.
Despite the high dosages of morphine and fentanyl physicians gave him for his severe agony, Ryan Bartell did not experience any relief in the hospital. He wanted cannabis instead of opioids after approximately four weeks of continuous opioid usage. He was compelled to move to a Washington hospital to utilize medical cannabis since most hospitals have anti-cannabis policies.
Ryan Bartell’s health improved dramatically with the use of cannabis, according to his father, Jim Bartell, giving him a good quality of life in his last weeks. According to media reports, Jim Bartell said:
“While on the cannabis medications, he moved from being mostly sleeping with fentanyl and morphine to being awake and able to converse, text, chat to friends, and have visitors.”
Ryan Bartell’s fight with cancer ended seven weeks after his original diagnosis, and his father went to work lobbying for a reform in the regulations that prohibit hospitals from admitting cannabis for the most vulnerable patients. Jim Bartell enlisted the assistance of Hueso to investigate the potential of providing cannabis to terminally sick patients without risking government funds.
The Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act of California
Hueso started working on the Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act, or Ryan’s Law, after discovering from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that there were no current rules explicitly addressing the use of cannabis in medical settings. “While medicinal cannabis has been shown to assist with nausea, vomiting, and pain, it is explicitly illegal in our state for hospitals to provide it to patients,” Hueso added.
The California Assembly and Senate approved the measure with overwhelming support in early September 2021, sending it to the governor’s desk for final approval. Despite the fact that Newsom vetoed a similar bill in 2019 due to worries that it “would generate major problems between federal and state law,” he signed the new legislation this time.
The measure would “require certain kinds of health-care institutions to allow a terminally ill patient to consume medicinal cannabis inside the health-care facility,” provided the patient has a medical marijuana card. Smoking and vaping cannabis, as well as consuming cannabis in emergency rooms, will remain illegal, but other forms of cannabis usage will be permitted in California.
Hospice Care Has a Positive Future
The passage of Ryan’s Law is a triumph for California patients, but many other terminally ill patients in the United States are still waiting for their own victories. The efforts of Jim Bartell and Hueso show that it is possible to get past the complicated laws and regulations that hospitals are bound by, which may encourage other states to implement their own changes.
Many people believe that depriving terminally sick patients access to cannabis, which may greatly benefit them, is cruel, regardless of the fact that it is prohibited. Ryan’s Law is a long-awaited effort that puts people’ health and well-being ahead of outmoded rules and regulations. If other states follow California’s lead, we may be seeing the dawn of a new age in healthcare.
Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist who is working to abolish prohibition across the world for a brighter future for everyone. Ashley is passionate about spreading knowledge about the goddess plant known as cannabis. She thinks that a single seed can tilt the scales, and that by working together to remove the stigma around cannabis, we can help it reach its full potential worldwide.